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Roseanne Barr Blames Former Costar Sara Gilbert For the Cancelation of ‘Roseanne’

Photo Credit: Steven Ferdman / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Steven Ferdman / Getty Images

From 1988 to 1997, Roseanne Barr starred in the highly successful sitcom that shared her name, Roseanne. Twenty years later, in 2017, a reboot was underway that showed promise. However, following a racist comment posted by the show’s leading lady, the sitcom was canceled, Barr doesn’t blame herself for this, though. Instead, she says it was due to the actions of her co-star.

The sitcom was canceled after Barr’s controversial tweet

Sara Gilbert and Roseanne Barr sitting together on a couch.
Barr blames Gilbert for the show’s cancellation. (Photo Credit: Mohawk Productions / Jax Media / ABC / jeffw616)

In 2018, Barr posted a tweet that made racial comments about Valerie Jarrett, a former advisor to President Barack Obama. The post sparked an immediate backlash from fans and Barr’s co-stars, with both Michael Fishman and Sara Gilbert posting their own statements condemning her tweet. Notably, Gilbert, who stars as Barr’s daughter in both the original sitcom and the reboot, spoke out about Barr’s comment.

On May 29, 2018, Gilbert said, “Roseanne’s recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show. I am disappointed in her actions to say the least.” That same day, ABC canceled the already-confirmed second season of the sitcom.

In response to her colleagues’ statements, Barr said that her co-stars were throwing her “under the bus,” but later said that she forgave them. However, a year later, Barr claimed that Gilbert, in particular, “destroyed the show and my life with that tweet.”

She said Gilbert ‘stabbed her in the back’

Roseanne Barr and Sara Gilbert surrounded by people
Actresses Roseanne Barr and Sara Gilbert of Roseanne backstage at the 6th Annual “TV Land Awards” held at Barker Hangar on June 8, 2008, in Santa Monica, California. (Photo Credit: Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic / Getty Images)

Years later, Barr was interviewed on The Megyn Kelly Show. There, she explained that Gilbert’s response shocked her and said she blames her specifically for the show’s cancelation. According to Barr, it was supposedly Gilbert –  also an executive producer on the revival – who reached out and “begged me to come back” to the role from the original show. Barr said that Gilbert promised her, “‘I’ve got your back this time. I won’t let anyone at you. I won’t let anyone hurt you. I’m gonna protect you.'”

Barr continued, “All the crap she told me and then she tweeted, ‘It’s sad when one cast member…’ something about racist blah blah, and I was floored. I was just floored.” At the time, Gilbert was also a creator and host of the television show called The Talk, and brought up Barr and the controversy several times. This upset Barr greatly. “It wasn’t enough that she stabbed me in the back, and did what she did to me there, but then she would go on her talk show every day and talk about how shocked she was at my racism on top of it,” Barr said.

“I called her up and I said, ‘You better shut your blanking mouth about me. I’m telling you, you better shut your [expletive] mouth.’ And then she did, but, you know, my voice can be very scary,” Barr explained.

The Connors spin-off premiered without Barr

The cast of "The Connors" sitting at a table in a kitchen
After the controversy, a spinoff called The Connors was made without Barr. (Photo Credit: Mohawk Production / Jax Media / ABC / essentiel / MovieStillsDB)

Following the cancelation of the reboot, a spinoff was launched that same year called The Connors. It followed the same family, just without Barr. In the first episode of the show, it’s explained that Barr’s character had died. The show has been quite a success without her, with five seasons complete already. However, her character’s absence from the show has had an effect on Barr.

“They just tried to kill me, and I felt like they killed my character and my character,” Barr explained. “I thought they were sending a message over the airwaves because they knew I had mental health issues. I thought they wanted me to [end my life], and all my friends did too. They said they’re trying to push you to [end it all].” Regardless, The Connors is currently slotted to produce more seasons in the future.

John Goodman chimed in

Roseanne and Dan Goodman sit on the couch together on the set of 'Roseanne'
Roseanne and Dan on the couch together during the second episode of the revival of Roseanne (Photo Credit: Adam Rose via Getty Images)

John Goodman recently discussed his relationship with Barr and said he did not regret supporting her after she was fired from the Roseanne reboot.

The 71-year-old star of The Conners, the spinoff of Roseanne, said that he stands by his decision to publicly declare that Barr is “not a racist.” He explained, “At the time I remember going to some kind of junket where they saw the pilot, and then the interviews, and it just turned into attack. And that made me very uncomfortable with them just attacking Roseanne.”

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Goodman, who reprised his role of Dan on the spinoff, said “I just feel terrible about the whole thing. You know, we had a great time. And I love her. She’s just her own person.” He was asked if he’d work with Barr again and answered, “I don’t know. If she’d liked to… I just don’t know. I miss her. “I wish her well.”

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!